“Do well by doing good.” That’s been my motto since being bitten by the corporate social responsibility (CSR) bug and later on my path to veganism. My motto has become my personal brand. From my perspective, personal branding isn’t about fame and glitter, creating a “persona” or image. It’s about your personal legend. What matters to you? What do you stand for? What difference do you want to make – even if it’s small scale? How can you best make your mark on the world?
Personal branding isn’t just for CEOs of organizations. It’s actually the factor that can make an ordinary career extraordinary. It can allow you to bring in your personal core values into everything you do in your career. Case in point – I was named “Ms. Green” by the CEO of the last organization I worked for. Initially I was brought into my position for corporate strategy work, but then was able to convince my higher-ups to allow me to take on the sustainability program planning as well. Environmentalism and social responsibility has always been a commitment of mine since I majored in business management in college. I was able to weave in my “doing good” value into what made me known within the organization.
My CSR values did at times put me at odds with the traditional approach within the organization, but I can be pretty fierce when it comes to standing up for what I believe in. However, it did shake things up. Not in an aggressive or pushy way, but by my modeling the way and providing inspiration for others to join in.
- Volunteer for committees and activities within your organization that relate to your values and personal mission. They might not be directly related to your position, but provide you with an opportunity to spend time on meaningful projects that nurture your personal brand.
- Leverage connections both within and on the outside. Schedule coffee get-togethers, lunches or dinners. Share with others what your aspirations are and where you’d like to make an impact. Learn to ask for help in getting there by being specific with your requests. Also think outside the norm when it comes to networking. How effective are the Chamber of Commerce events really? Instead look at industry-specific workshops, charity events or community activities to expand your circle of influence.
- Promote your personal brand consistently. Walk your talk. People expect certain outcomes and behaviors based upon how you’ve established your brand. To strengthen the brand, you will need to ensure that you deliver to the expectations you’ve set. This could be as simple as engaging others on social media, participating as a speaker on panels or contributing articles to your company newsletter.
- Update your professional materials. With this, you want to look at your resume, service portfolio, social media profiles and bio to integrate more of your personal mission and any accomplishments relating to this. It’s an opportunity for you to showcase any stories you can share to highlight how you’re making a difference or what you stand for.
- Join organizations that promote your values. This could be a charity, non-profit, association or government committee. This could be for you in your personal life or representing your organization. Maybe your organization doesn’t necessarily have activities or committees that support your personal mission, but allows for you to join other organizations that do as a company representative.
Building your personal brand and weaving it into your professional life allows you to marry both your personal mission and career life. A lot of folks still believe that they have to leave the true person that they are at the door when they enter the business world. However, this isn’t the case anymore. Your personal brand is the bridge between your personal and professional life in today’s business world.
Resonate with this? Then click here to find out how you can create your own personal legend, too, by building a personal brand in alignment with your mission in life.